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You’ve persevered through one of the most challenging periods the healthcare sector has ever seen. You’re cautiously reopening your practice as states start lifting restrictions, applying all the necessary safeguards and recommendations for keeping your community safe. And you’re ready to welcome back the throngs of patients who have been anxiously awaiting the moment they can reschedule their appointments and procedures. Simply put, your practice is back in business, and once you’ve caught up on the backlog, you can start focusing on growth.
But all of that – re-engaging with patients, rescheduling and fulfilling postponed appointments, and preparing for the long term – requires a robust, yet flexible staffing plan. Of course, this is easier said than done, especially for a sector that experienced a highly unusual spike in unemployment: The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) reports 1 in 10 healthcare workers lost their jobs between February and April 2020. For most healthcare practices, this means they are re-emerging at a staffing deficit. Compounding the problem is the fact that healthcare staffing was already a concern for most practices prior to the pandemic: According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), talent acquisition is the biggest problem for HR professionals in healthcare – followed by burnout, training and certification.
So, what’s a healthcare practice to do? First and foremost, you need to assess your short- and long-term staffing needs, taking into consideration surges in patient activity as appointments, procedures and follow-ups are rescheduled. Consider your existing staff’s needs – things like sick time, vacation requests, scheduling preferences and other scenarios that may take them away from the office and, potentially, leave you short-handed. Then, armed with that information, you’ll want to think about the following:
There are countless ways to address your staffing needs as your practice powers back in the second half of 2020. The key is to look beyond traditional methods and think creatively. This is a chance to revisit and reset – to capitalize on opportunities to drive greater efficiency across your operation and insulate your business from uncertainty in the future.